UC Master Gardeners in LA are volunteers who garden
UC Master Gardeners volunteer under the auspices of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR). UC ANR Cooperative Extension offices in 50 California counties operate the volunteer gardening education program.
Savio has served as the UC Master Gardener coordinator in LA County since 1994. The first few years of MG classes, the students were often retirees or garden club members, many of whom were uninterested in volunteering in areas where they was the greatest need. In 2000, Savio visited community garden to search for volunteers.
"That's what started this synergy between master gardeners and community gardens," she says. "We in L.A. are completely different from other [master gardener programs] statewide in that we allow people to develop their own projects. We have had the special distinction in specializing in edibles, school gardens and low-income folks. As much as we're known for doing this wonderful stuff, it's not within the purview of other master gardener programs."
The program will continue after Savio retires at the end of June with Rachel Surls, the UC ANR Cooperative Extension urban agriculture advisor, at the helm. In retirement, Savio be writing a blog at http://gardeninginLA.net with garden resources for the greater Los Angeles County area and beyond.